Ethereum is more popular than Bitcoin according to the latest research by the Indian free internet provider, Jana.
As reported by Quartz, Ethereum held a 34.4% share of cryptocurrency searches versus 29.9% for Bitcoin when analyzing search terms between October 2017 and February 2018. By the end of February, amidst tightening regulation in India, the relative interest in Ethereum had risen to twice that of Bitcoin.
Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed immense popularity in India over the past year, at times Bitcoin was trading at a 30% premium. The reason can be traced back to 2016, when the Reserve Bank of India removed high-value bills from circulation in a move that shocked the nation. It underlined the value of a currency that isn’t controlled by a central authority – the principal that defined the creation of Bitcoin over 10 years ago.
However, the shine has come off the popularity of cryptocurrency in India. Following announcements from other central banks including the UK and the US, India’s central bank has been applying regulatory pressures on its national banks and local cryptocurrency exchanges. As a result, it has been reported that trading volumes on India’s popular bitcoin trading platforms have plummeted by 90%.
This fall in trading volumes could indicate that traders in India are simply moving away from centralized trading platforms. The strength of cryptocurrencies are that they can be exchanged peer to peer. According to analysis by CryptoCompare, two-thirds of Indian Rupee transactions now take place on LocalBitcoins – a person to person bitcoin trading site that doesn’t rely on a centralized exchange in order to convert into fiat.
Increased interest in Ethereum reflects a general trend towards diversifying crypto-assets, it is the currency of choice for investing in Initial Coin Offerings. In a tough market, traders have been looking to these crypto-startups to find returns.
According to Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin, an Indian bitcoin exchange and as reported by Quartz, “The market is very, very dull,” as regulation and tax is weighing on people’s minds.
Perhaps the interest in Ethereum discovered by Jana simply reflects Sathvik’s sentiments. The market has endured a difficult few months, Ethereum’s promise of decentralized apps and its ERC-20 based-ICOs offer the Indian market a glimmer of excitement and a more positive future in a bearish market.